Pollo Al Ajillo in a pan

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This recipe is soooo good. Yet relatively unknown outside of Spain where it is served up as a popular tapas dish. This Pollo al Ajillo (translated: chicken with garlic) is perfect served up with other small dishes or finger foods and, of course, a crisply chilled glass of white wine!

What is it?

This recipe is a beautifully simple combination of the Andalusian Region in Spain. It combines sauteed garlic and chicken with flavours of rosemary and white wine.

It is a type of tapas dish – which are basically small dishes that can be served as appetisers alongside a drink, or combined to make a full meal. Tapas has grown in popularity over the years, as there are so many varieties and flavours – and since you can mix and match different dishes it’s perfect for people who want a taste of everything!

Pollo Al Ajillo on a counter

What can you eat it with?

If you are looking to eat this alongside some other tapas dishes then it is a good idea to pair it with a range of different types of dishes. For example, a potato dish, a vegetable option and perhaps another type of meat. I’d recommend patatas bravas (potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce), Pimientos de Padrón (small green peppers) and chorizo al vino (chorizo cooked in red wine).

This can be served as a main dish as well. It goes well over a bed of rice with some steamed vegetables or served up with some boiled new potatoes.


Pollo Al Ajillo has just 6 ingredients (plus salt & pepper).

Pollo Al Ajillo Ingredients
  1. Chicken legs/thighs (or alternatively you can cut up a full chicken)
  2. Garlic – unpeeled full cloves
  3. Fresh rosemary
  4. Dry white wine – use a Spanish wine for authenticity, but any will do
  5. Olive oil


Chicken – You can use chicken breast for this recipe. Try and use a skin on breast if you can as it will help to seal in all the juices when cooking. Generally, the breast meat will be a lot drier than if you are using thighs or legs which are more tender. Slice the breast into smaller pieces before cooking.

Rosemary – This is often made with parsley so feel free to swap. If you are using parsley then add it right at the end of the cooking rather than during the process. You can use dried rosemary instead of fresh but use around 1/3 of the amount you would fresh. For this recipe around 1/2 tsp per person is a good amount.

White wine – although the taste will be a little different, you can substitute chicken stock for the wine if you prefer. You could also use non-alcoholic wine if you don’t drink alcohol, which would be closer to the original taste. The alcohol also burns out while cooking

How to make it

First heat a pan with the olive oil over a high heat. Add the garlic and cook for around 2 minutes, using tongs to turn the cloves over frequently. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Next add the chicken and cook for around 5 minutes – you want the skin to get really nice and golden brown all over. Turn the pieces every 2 minutes so that it browns evenly and doesn’t burn.

Next add the garlic back to the pan and add the wine and rosemary. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook for 20 minutes.

Use a spoon or tongs to remove the chicken and add to a serving plate. Drizzle the sauce from the pan over the top and serve.

Recipe Steps - cook Garlic, add chicken, add wine and rosemary, cover and simmer

If you are looking for other great Spanish recipes then try this chicken & chorizo paella or this spanish chorizo pasta.

Products that work well for this recipe:

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Pollo Al Ajillo in a pan

Pollo al Ajillo (Garlic Chicken)

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x


Super flavoursome and perfect served up as part of a tapas platter or as a starter. This Pollo Al Ajillo is super simple to make and will bring the flavour of Spain right into your home. 

The default recipe serves one.


  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 1 chicken drumstick
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • few sprigs rosemary
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) white wine


1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Remove the garlic from the pan with a slotted spoon.

2. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning every couple of minutes until it is brown on all sides. Add the garlic back to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and pour over the wine. Add the rosemary and cover. Cook for 20 minutes at a slight simmer


  • If you are making for several people then you can buy an entire chicken and cut into pieces
  • You can use parsley instead of rosemary, but make sure to add it right at the end instead of during the cooking process. Or you can use dried rosemary – around 1/2 tsp per person.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Tapas
  • Method: Hob
  • Cuisine: Spanish


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 645
  • Fat: 43g
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Protein: 48g

Keywords: spanish, tapas, appetiser, starter, chicken, garlic, rosemary, mediterranean

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